Essence directs efforts to raise the funds and investments to enable Sitar’s programs and activities. She works closely with the Leadership Council, Board of Directors, and all donors, and oversees the fundraising team. A professional fundraiser with more than 25 years of experience, she joined Sitar in 2018 from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she served as Deputy Chief Development Officer. From 2005 to 2016, she worked at the Folger Shakespeare Library, serving on the executive team as Director of Development and prior to that as Director of Major Gifts. From 1999 to 2004, Essence was Director of Development for Exhibitions at the National Building Museum, and previously, she served in development posts at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and at On the Boards, Intiman Theatre, and the Group Theatre in Seattle. She was elected to the Emerging Leaders Council of Americans for the Arts (2004–2007) and served on the Board of Directors of Young Playwrights’ Theater (2007–2014). She earned an M.P.A. in nonprofit and arts management from the University of Washington.